Interdisciplinary Projects

Featured Course

In Spring 2024, we will offer a special topics course on “History of Women in Mathematics.” Course Details:

  • MATH 290-A/HIST 390-E: History of Women in Mathematics
  • Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays from 3:05-3:55 pm in GEM 233
  • Instructor: Professor Melissa Desjarlais
  • Can fulfill either a humanities general education requirement or a math major/minor elective requirement
  • Description: In this course you will learn about women who have contributed to the development of mathematics and solve problems based on their work. We will discuss the scientific education of women, biographies of women mathematicians, mathematics the women developed, codebreaking during World War II, and the current situation for women in mathematics. A connecting theme throughout the course will be the obstacles and challenges women overcame to study mathematics and the support they received from their friends and family. Depending on the interests of the students enrolled in the course, the content could be expanded to include women in other disciplines, such as science, computer science, statistics, or engineering.

Course Flyer

Faculty Learning Community

During the 2021-2022 academic year, 13 faculty from departments across Valparaiso University participated in a Faculty Learning Community (FLC) on Interdisciplinary Projects in Mathematics.

We began by reading articles about interdisciplinary work in sciences, engineering, music, and mathematics. We brainstormed what characteristics make interdisciplinary projects effective and engaging, and what makes them fall flat. The scientists and engineers in the group reminded the mathematicians that oftentimes “application” projects in mathematics don’t feel realistic when they simply reference the topic where mathematics is applied, but then go on to do the mathematics in a typical “math class” way.

Following this, we formed small groups and pairs by topics of interest and began to consider what mathematical topics could be addressed. Out of these discussions, we created projects that can be used throughout mathematics, from algebra and precalculus to more advanced courses such as calculus. The projects emphasize authentic applications arising from a wide variety of disciplines.

See below for links to the projects:

Faculty Participants:

  • Chris Iceman (Chemistry)
  • Daniel Maguire (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
  • Dan White (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
  • Jennifer Holt (Chemistry)
  • Joseph Bognar (Music)
  • Melissa Desjarlais (Mathematics and Statistics)
  • Niru Devaraj (Economics)
  • Teresa Bals-Elsholz (Geography and Meteorology)
  • Tiffany Kolba (Mathematics and Statistics)
  • Haiying He (Physics)
  • Luke Venstrom (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Zsuzsanna Szaniszlo  (Mathematics and Statistics)
  • Jenna Van Sickle (Lilly Fellows Program)

These projects were supported by the National Science Foundation award # 2120720.